'In those days boat owners used to compete to
see whose was the best,' he says. 'I love the
sea and boats. I was in the timber trade, and
in the course of my job I got to know all the
boat builders and learnt the finer details of
boat building. I began to make models, and the
more I made the more I loved doing it.'
Mehmet Özkasim does not just make models that
look like the originals, but uses the identical
materials. If the keel of a real alamana (a
kind of fishing smack) was made of oak and the
ribs of ash, so are those of his models. Oak,
beech, ash and pitch pine are the timbers used
in boat building. 'These woods were used by
builders for specific reasons,' he explains.
'Ash, for instance, is extremely strong. It
does not break easily and stretches. Fir and
linden, on the other hand, snap immediately.
Builders have tried all kinds of woods and arrived
at the most suitable.'